Saturday, January 28, 2017

The 2017 Quartzsite RV Show

Following my plan I let the opening weekend of the Quartzsite RV show pass without attending in hopes I could avoid the shoulder to shoulder crowds inside the main tent.  The following Tuesday my 14 day camping pass was expiring so on my way out of my campsite I drove near the show, parked the Tank, and continued on to the show on foot, avoiding the car and RV traffic.

Bet you can't tell Progressive Insurance is one of the show's sponser.
As I mentioned in my previous post the weather at Quartzsite this year was way below par.  It has been at least 10-15 degrees BELOW average temperatures for mid-January and those temperatures combined with a surprising amount of rain AND high winds have not made for the most pleasant camping experience.  As I walked to the Big Tent which contains the bulk of the displays I was hands-in-pockets shivering and inside the unheated Big Tent the only thing that improved, comfortability-wise was the wind was blocked.

The Big Tent.  It was actually a one-time circus tent.
I got to the show around 9:30am and apparently beat the "crowd" because there weren't more than a couple hundred of the curious wandering up and down the display booth aisles, a far cry from the show two years ago where you almost had to "swim" through the tightly packed mob.

I chatted with some long time attendees who lamented that the Quartzsite show had evolved away from just being about RVs and parts for them and become a much more broadly focused show with many booths having seemingly noting to do with RVs.

A hot tub booth, guess I could tow it behind the Tank if it had wheels.
Several of the booth vendors I talked to mentioned the sub-par weather as holding this year's attendance down and it sounded like sales for some were extremely slow.

Some booths were unmanned, maybe waiting for things to get more crowded?
The food booths outside the Big Tent did a land office business two years ago but it appeared everyone was still adhering to their New Year's dieting resolutions this year.

The line for Phat Dawgs was 10 deep 2 years ago.
Although I got a little thirsty with all the walking around I didn't have the guts to try this:

I like bacon and lemonade, just not mixed!
My Escapees RV Club had a booth at the show and it had surprisingly robust traffic, considering they weren't exactly selling anything.

The Escapee booth.
It's too bad the weather depressed the crowds at this year's show, I'm sure a lot of the exhibitors count on the show to kick off the new sales year and, from what I could tell, sales were pretty lackluster.  I did talk to a guy at a sales booth for Renogy, the maker of the Tank's solar panels, and got some questions I had answered regarding portable panel setups so it wasn't a wasted trip for me, but if the weather forecast next year doesn't show temperatures in the mid-70's (which would be usual) I will probably forego the 2018 Quartzsite Show.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 21, 2017


So I drove the hour and a half from Phoenix west on I-10 and got to Quartzsite, AZ in the middle of the afternoon.  There's always a big RV show every January that comprises all things RV, from vehicles themselves to parts big and small to just about anything you could consider putting on around or into an RV.  This year the show is a little later than usual running from the 21st to the 29th, and I plan on going, not because I really need anything for the Tank but just for the spectacle, there will probably be over 100,000 attendees this year like always!

I decided to pay $40 for a two week stay in the Long Term Visitors Area (LTVA) rather than stay in one of the free BLM areas south of Quartzite because the LTVA abuts the RV show grounds and I'd be within walking distance and not have to fight the thousands of vehicles that drive in every day.  I found a pretty decent campsite in Chickadee Flats which is a camp area just south of the RV show.

That's Old Yuma Road, the main drag thru the LTVA.
Unfortunately, Chickadee Flats became very "popular" with new comers who all had the same idea of walking to the show as I had and, as my luck would have it, several generator running RV's pulled in right beside me, set up their generators and let 'em rip, oblivious to their neighbors.  One of the good things about having wheels on your house is that you can move if your neighbors hassle you -- so I did, about a half mile south down Old Yuma Road to an unnamed camp area but one that was happily free of noisy generators.

Note the relative spacious distance to my new neighbors.
 I was a little more careful when I chose my second campsite, I looked for a spot whose neighbors looked like this:

Solar panels = quiet neighbors!

I could probably still walk to the show from my new campsite but if I DID buy anything bulky it'd be a real carry getting it back to the Tank's site so my new plan is to attend the show on the day my two week LTVA stamp expires, park the Tank near the show, walk over and see it then take off.

The LTVA area is chock full of RV's of every model and stripe, there are even quite a few pickup/camper rigs like the Tank here.

Talk about your house on wheels!
The weather this time hasn't been as cooperative as in the past when I've been here with daytime highs sometimes not even getting into the 60's and a lot of wind and even quite a bit of rain!  Fortunately the soil that the Tank is parked on is a mixture of predominately dirt and gravel so I have no concerns of repeating the Utah fiasco where I got stuck in the mud for a couple days last Fall.

The mostly gravel soil in the LTVA.
I'll take some photos of my walk through the RV show next week and do another post about it.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Scottsdale Casino Camping

Leaving the Escapee's Dream Catcher Park in Deming I headed west with Quartzite as my ultimate destination but being in no hurry I cut the drive in half and stayed a night at Casino Arizona in Scottsdale.  The casino is located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Reservation and is run and operated by the Community. 

The somewhat modernistic Casino Arizona.
Unlike most casinos I've stayed at where they just wave you over to the far side of the parking lot Casino Arizona has you check in at the security desk, secure a Players Card, then fill out a one page detailed information sheet before they let you stay overnight.  I did all this and played some craps which I won money at, then watched the exciting College Football Championship on their sports bar's gigantic screen.  Beer was consumed and a splendid time was had!

The next morning I was somewhat tempted to stay another day (they let you stay for three nights) but I decided to quit while I was "ahead" and did a workout and shower at one of the many Anytime Fitness gyms in the Phoenix area then jumped back on I-10 for Quartzite and the Desert.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Hanging Around Houston

Sorry for the lull in blog postings.  Since after Thanksgiving I was tethered to the Houston area due to dental work.  One of my teeth split in two and had to be extracted.  The dentist wanted to wait two weeks to let any swelling subside before she measured the "gap" for a bridge.  Then it was another two weeks waiting for the bridge to get constructed and finally emplaced.  During the roughly six weeks this took I stayed at several of my Houston area haunts like the FM 521 River Park which I reviewed here:  FM521 River Park Review and the Fort Anahuac Park which I reviewed here:  Fort Anahuac Park Review .  I also stayed at a couple of Walmart s in Katy off and on as I tried to camp for free as much as I could having just invested $2900 in my mouth!

Finally all my friend, family and dental obligations were met and I'm free again and heading for Quartzite, AZ for the annual January mass camp-out and meet up.  I didn't go last year so I'm looking forward to attending and am currently at the Escapee Dream Catcher RV Park in Deming, NM. where I've stayed several times.

Catch a dream and you're sitting on top of the world!
A cold front hit New Mexico and I wanted to have electric hookups to be able to run my electric space heater during the 29 degree nights so I chose to spend a weekend at Dream Catcher and also watch the NFL Wildcard games.  I got some laundry done at the excellent laundry they have there too.

The Tank on what is essentially a large gravel lot at Dream Catcher.
So tomorrow I hit I-10 for Arizona, somewhat aiming at a casino in Scottsdale for a free overnight (as long as you don't lose) before the final leg to Quartzite which is almost on the California border along I-10.

I'm back!

Thanks for reading!